« PreviousContinue »
shewn me by you and Sir William, and I often, very often, regret the change that has taken place, and most sincerely hope the new appointment of Sir William Hamilton will answer his expectation, and which I most sincerely congratulate you both upon. The Governorship of Malta, which we are informed for certain is given to Sir William, may he live many years to enjoy it, and you to partake of every comfort. No doubt by the time he comes out, we shall have peace, and with a little of your good management, things may be brought round in this country, to make it pleasant once more.
"Our valuable friend, Lord Nelson, has been adding new laurels; may he live long to enjoy them. I have to lament my not going home, when I might have stood a chance to have been one of hi3 party: I like no better company, I assure you. I hope if this country is to fall, that it will be soon, then no doubt it will be Minotaur's turn to go to Old England, when I shall have the pleasure and satisfaction of paying my respects to you and all my friends. I beg my kind remembrance to Sir William and Lord Nelson, when you see him. Miss Knight I had a line from some time since. My best wishes to her and Mrs. Cadogan. If I can be of any service to you or Sir William, in this part of the world, you have only to command me, and believe me with great truth, and every sincere wish, your much obliged and obedient humble servant,
* P. S. Part of our army with Turks, &c. are near Cairo. I wish they were in it."
Lord Nelson quitted the Baltic on the 19th, and sailed in the Kite brig for England, being unwilling to deprive the fleet of a large vessel. He was at this time in correspondence with the Prince Castelcicala relative to the affairs of Naples, and received the following from his Highness:—
"My noble and respected Friend, "I received your obliging and very interesting letter yesterday. Accept, my dear Lord, my earnest thanks for the
interest you shew for the welfare of the Two Sicilies, in this important event, a peace; an interest worthy of you who saved those kingdoms. We are under great obligations to England. My sentiments, my dear friend, towards the cursed French, remain unaltered, and I shall ever hate them, but in my opinion, the state of things in Europe cannot remain very long as it is ; time will shew, but the prospect is not cheering. I wrote yesterday to our good King and Queen. Nothing can possibly more gratify my patrons than the affectionate expressions of your Excellency's sentiments towards them in your letter to me, to which they are so greatly indebted, and of which I am also so gratefully sensible. I have written again to Sir John Acton what you wrote to me for him. I ardently wish for your return to London, my dear friend, that I may have the pleasure of seeing you and talking with you; the moment I learn you have returned I shall hasten to you. My wife presents her kind regards and compliments to you, as well as all my little family. Ever faithful in my attachment and admiration of your incomparable virtues, my Lord, until my last breath I shall respect, and with the greatest gratitude, veneration, and esteem, remain,
"Your Excellency's obliged, faithful,
"and affectionate friend,
*' To his Excellency the Duke of Bronte, Lord Viscount Nelson."
The Queen of Naples directed the following to Lady Hamilton:—
"Vienna, February 11, 1801.
"My dear Lady, "I received your letter of the month of November by the courier sent by the good Prince de Castelcicala. I much wish to have further news from you, and to know how the Chevalier is, and if he thinks of returning to the genial climate of Italy, and tell me how you also find yourself situated, whether you are comfortable, for I am interested in everything that concerns such friends as you are, and I trust, ever will be. I say nothing of our troubles, the public papers have made you acquainted with them. The state of this monarchy is so reduced that the natives and their families are shocked by it. The general quarters of the army is at Schonbrun, and the insurrectionary Hungarians are one half in Luxembourg, the other still in Hungary. We were on the point of starting at Christmas, my people and baggage were already at Brun. Now I tremble for Italy, for the scoundrel Le Brun will not agree to an armistice, and I apprehend if he does he will not include us in it. The King, the Prince, and Princess, are all well, their two children have had the small-pox naturally, and very favourably, and are already quite recovered. All was quiet in our two kingdoms. I live very retired here. Harmony is in some degree established in our family. I shall hold the Empress's child at the baptismal font, and she will hold Louisa's. I do not go out at all now, for I have a violent cold, which torments me very much. St. Marco Corigliano is here. Luchesi also arrived last night. In the general alarm and departure at Christmas I sent poor D° Carolina and her family to Trieste. Adieu, my dear Lady, send me word how you feel, if you are happy, what your prospects are; all that concerns you interests me. Belmont has left Russia in very bad health; he could not stop there, all their proceedings were insupportable to him. He travels slowly by way of Germany, and will perhaps be at the marriage of his brother with the Princess of Courland, which takes place this month in Saxony. Adieu, my compliments to the Chevalier, and to the valorous and dear Lord Nelson, the hero of the Nile. How often I think of him. Adieu, my dear Lady, I hope some day to see you again, and rely on my constant friendship, which will cease only with the life of your tender and sincere friend,
"All my dear children make their compliments to you; they are all well, thank God, but our misfortunes leave me no hope of establishing them. Adieu, again adieu."
"March 31, 1801. "My dear Lady, "Your letter has quite distressed me, for I see you are neither so happy nor as satisfied as my sincere and grateful heart, and true friendship for you, would desire you to be, but these are bad times, and there is nothing but suffering. I have been ill again, I cannot quite recover, but, thank God, I am able to move about. My dear daughters are quite well, thank Heaven, and form my only consolation, though mingled with sorrow too, seeing, as I do, that there is no establishment for them, and thinking, if I die, what they may be subjected to; this often makes me regret escaping the tempest of the 23rd of December, when, engulphed in the waters, none with me, I should never have known so many horrors and such ingratitude; the entry of the French into the kingdom, and the horrible peace forced upon us, which brought me to the brink of death, and now, though I am partially restored to health, I fear it will not be durable, with my spirits so tired. Leopold has been very ill, and has been obliged to lose blood for the first time. I hope to go into the country soon, that will give me great pleasure, for plants and trees are not ungrateful. Adieu, my dear Lady, I hope we shall meet again. Rely on my constant friendship and gratitude; make my compliments to the Chevalier, let me often hear from you, and believe me ever your sincere
Soon after his arrival in London, Lord Nelson wrote to the Hon. Henry Addington (July 8th), in which he says: "Prince Castelcicala has been so pressing that I should bear my testimony to you of the fidelity of the King of the Two Sicilies, and his fear that the loss of the island of Sicily may be the consequence of the want of assistance from this country; that it has struck me forcibly that the former plan of the French is still likely to be carried into effect, either by treaty or by force. I dare say that plan is much better known to you than to me, although having for a length of time seen the correspondence both public and private, from all the Neapolitan Ministers to their Government, and to the Queen of Naples, I am perfectly acquainted with the views of the several Powers. The plan of the French Directory was, not to have an army of French in Italy on a peace, but to make all the Powers of Italy dependent upon them; in order to do this, Corsica was to be taken from us, Elba, Sardinia, Sicily, if possible, Malta, Corfu, and those could be easily kept, and would awe their enemies in Italy (if any turned against them), and support their friends, and cut our trade both with Italy and Turkey to pieces; indeed, we could have none. From Castelcicala's conversation, I think that either by a forced treaty with the King of Naples, or by force of arms, these people will attempt, and even are attempting, the getting Sicily, which will be a very severe stroke upon us."1
It was on the 1st of July that Lord Nelson landed at Yarmouth, and the first act he performed was to visit the wounded at Copenhagen in hospital at this place; after which he departed for London, being escorted by the Volunteer Cavalry as far as Lowestoffe, a distance of eleven miles. Another act of kindness signalized his arrival; the following was directed to Mrs. Maurice Nelson:—
"My dear Mrs. Nelson, "I beg that you will stay at Laleham, with horse, wiskey, and keep every convenience there to make your stay comfortable, and by Michaelmas you can determine as to the mode and manner of your future residence. Nothing, be assured, shall be wanting on my part to make your life as comfortable and cheerful as possible, for believe me, with every respect and regard, your affectionate friend,
"nelson And Bronte.
"I send a hundred pounds, which you will accept from
"July 2nd, 1801."
Sir John Orde now courted communication with Lord Nelson, but failing to meet with him at his hotel, wrote the following letters :—
"My dear Lord, "I yesterday called ineffectually at Lothians, to offer you
1 From an Autograph in the Sidmouth Papers.